February 10, 2022 #Life & Culture

"Por si las moscas", "mandarse un condoro" and "pasarlo chancho": the sayings most commonly used by Chileans

Accessibility settings

Animals are the lead protagonists in the colloquial expressions most widely used by Chileans, according to the latest Chilean Pride study carried out by Fundación Imagen de Chile.

Chile has always stood out for its creative use of language and this came through clearly in the Chilean Pride study, carried out by Fundación Imagen de Chile, which revealed the national tendency to use animals in popular sayings.

Survey respondents were asked which was the Chilean expression that they used most and the top three answers were the popular sayings "por si las moscas" (meaning "just in case", mentioned by 28% of the respondents), "mandarse un condoro ("to make a big mistake, 18%) and "pasarlo chancho"(have a great time, 11%). Here is a complete list:

  1. Just in case (28%) (just in case)
  2. Make a big mistake (18%)
  3. Pasarlo chancho (11%) (have a great time)
  4. Get ready quickly (9%)
  5. Ser pavo (8%) (to be awkward or goofy)
  6. Estar pato (7%) (to be broke, without money)
  7. Echar la mare (7%) (to be tired or no longer motivated)
  8. Make a cow (6%) (pool money together)
  9. Ser avispado (3%) (to be on your toes, ready)
  10. Estar como piojo (1%) (to be drunk)

Imagen de Chile representatives explain that "por si las moscas" won the "gold" in ranking for being a phrase that can be used in different contexts, because it means "just in case". The same thing occurs with "pasarlo chancho", a slang phrase used to mean "have a good time". "Mandarse un condoro" might be the most creative of the top 3 phrases because it is tied to two typical Chilean characters. On the one hand we have the former national football star, Roberto "Condor" Rojas, and on the other hand we have the fictitious "Condorito", the lead character in the comic book with the same name.

"At Imagen de Chile our mission is not only to monitor how people internationally perceive our country, but also to understand how we Chileans see ourselves, and what our identifying features are, so as to find the best way to communicate Chile to the world". In this third version of the Chilean pride study, we decided to include a question on popular sayings, and we can see that there is a very clearly defined identity in our language," explained Constanza Cea, the executive director of Imagen de Chile.

When the results are broken down by gender, women were found to use the saying "darse una manito de gato", meaning "get ready or to put make up on quickly", much more than men. In fact, it placed third for women, with 13%, compared to 5% for men.

Chileans between 45 and 60 years old are the ones who use expressions like "ser pavo" or "ser avispado" the least, with just 1% of their preference. This shows a generation gap, because Chileans aged between 18 and 30 years old opted for these animal-related sayings 15% of the time.

Imagen de Chile periodically carries out the Chilean Pride study in order to measure levels of national pride and learn more about Chilean identity. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the Universidad Católica research department DESUC in November 2021.

Click her for the complete study: Chilean Pride Study.





Image of Chile